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Media Advisory

For immediate use:

Nov. 9, 2007

Henderson students to learn science aboard UNC’s Destiny bus

Media representatives are invited to experience hands-on science aboard Destiny, one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s two traveling science laboratories, when it visits Northern Vance and Southern Vance High Schools next week.

Tuesday (Nov. 13)
7:55 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
12 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.
Northern Vance High School
293 Warrenton Road, Henderson
Students from two of Justyn Phelps’ honors biology classes will perform a lab exercise called “Case of the Crown Jewels.” They will assume the role of forensic scientists and perform DNA restriction analysis (popularly known as DNA fingerprinting) to analyze drops of “blood” and other kinds of evidence found at crime scenes as they determine which suspects are guilty or innocent.

Wednesday (Nov. 14)
8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Southern Vance High School
925 Garrett Road, Henderson
Students from one of Phil Weber’s biology classes will perform a lab exercise called “Get a Clue” (a later version of “Case of the Crown Jewels,” described above).

Wednesday (Nov. 14)
11:50 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Southern Vance High School
925 Garrett Road, Henderson
During the same visit, students from one of Wendi Leas’ honors biology classes will perform “Biological Bodyguards.” Students will examine the vital role that the body’s immune system takes to fight illness and prevent disease. Assuming the role of medical lab technicians, students will use a simulated viral extract and perform an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to screen hypothetical patients for the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The Destiny traveling science learning program is a science education outreach initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC-Chapel Hill that serves pre-college teachers and students across North Carolina. Destiny develops and delivers a standards-based, hands-on curriculum and teacher professional development with a team of educators and a fleet of vehicles that travel throughout the state.

Destiny and Discovery, two custom-built, 40-foot, 33,000-pound buses, bring the latest science and technology equipment to students who otherwise would not see a high-tech laboratory or what a career in science can offer. The modules described above are among 14 offered as part of Destiny’s curriculum. All of Destiny’s modules are aligned with the N.C. Standard Course of Study.

Destiny’s current principal funders are the State of North Carolina, the SEPA Program in the National Center for Research Resources and GlaxoSmithKline. Additional support comes from Bio-Rad Laboratories and Medtronic, Inc.

The science buses are powerful visual images that heighten public awareness of the importance of and funding necessary for quality science education. The Destiny program first hit the road in 2000.

Destiny Web site:

Destiny contact: Claire Ruocchio, (919) 843-5915 or
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or